Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin underwent a procedure to treat prostate cancer that led to his prolonged absence from work beginning last week — an absence he did not report to the White House, NBC News reported Tuesday.
Austin “underwent a minimally invasive procedure” to “treat and cure” the cancer just a few days before Christmas, the outlet reported.
He had been diagnosed with cancer days earlier and was put under general anesthesia for a Dec. 22 prostatectomy — a procedure to remove all or part of the prostate gland.
On Jan. 1, Austin experienced complications and was hospitalized, officials at Walter Reed National Military Center told NBC News.
“Secretary Austin recovered uneventfully from his surgery and returned home the next morning,” the officials said Tuesday.
“His prostate cancer was detected early, and his prognosis is excellent,” they said.
The officials said the complications Austin experienced included “nausea with severe abdominal, hip, and leg pain.”
On Jan. 2, the 70-year-old was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection and placed in Walter Reed’s intensive care unit for “close monitoring and a higher level of care.”
Austin then experienced “abdominal fluid collections impairing the function of his small intestines,” they said.
“This resulted in the back up of his intestinal contents which was treated by placing a tube through his nose to drain his stomach,” the Walter Reed officials told NBC News.
“The abdominal fluid collections were drained by non-surgical drain placement. He has progressed steadily throughout his stay,” they said.
Austin remained hospitalized as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the report.
He was expected to make a full recovery and was no longer battling any infections, according to NBC News.
On Friday, Pentagon officials had said he underwent an “elective medical procedure,” The New York Times reported.
Elective prostate cancer.
That’s a new one. https://t.co/AOaF1SOlsC
— Anna James Zeigler (@ajzeigler) January 9, 2024
Austin’s hospitalization has been yet another headache for the Biden administration, which has lost control of the southern border and was unaware the leader of the military was in the ICU amid military conflicts and tensions in the Middle East, Ukraine and the Pacific.
According to Axios, while Austin was hospitalized on Jan. 1, a full day went by before Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks assumed some of his responsibilities.
Hicks was vacationing in Puerto Rico at the time.
President Joe Biden was not made aware of Austin’s hospitalization until Thursday — nor was Hicks.
Biden has said he has no plans to fire the defense secretary.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.